Coming soon: Scouting Around, a new TV show from Boys’ Life magazine


All this and more, televised for your viewing pleasure.

Call it real reality TV.

Take all the excitement and education found in Boys’ Life magazine and transport it to your television.

That’s the clever concept behind Scouting Around, the new show from the century-old mainstay in the life of boys and the Boy Scouts of America.

According to yesterday’s news release, the show “will focus on widely popular, fun and informational subjects covered in Boys’ Life, appealing to relevant interests of both male and female teenagers.”

Michael Goldman, editorial director of the BSA’s three magazines (Boys’ Life, Scouting and Eagles’ Call) made the point that, “Bringing Boys’ Life into the homes of a new television audience helps us expand the reach of Scouting’s fun and values. After all, today’s readers — and viewers — are tomorrow’s leaders.”

Imagine non-Scouts flipping on their TV and seeing what all Scouts and Venturers experience and learn in Scouting. They’ll sign up right away — well, right after the closing credits roll.

And current Scouts and Venturers Continue reading


47 years later, ‘Follow Me, Boys!’ still a leader in movies about Scouting

follow-me-boys-posterTomorrow’s release of Saving Mr. Banks, which spotlights Walt Disney’s efforts to acquire the rights to Mary Poppins, got me thinking about a Walt Disney film released two years later.

Follow Me, Boys! is Disney’s tribute to the Boy Scouts of America, and nearly five decades after its release, it’s the only major motion picture I can think of that celebrates the Boy Scouts and holds up our organization’s strong values.

The Follow Me-Poppins parallels don’t end with Mr. Disney himself. The title song in Follow Me, Boys! was written by Robert and Richard Sherman, the same duo who penned the music in that British-nanny musical. (The actors B. J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman portray the Sherman brothers in Saving Mr. Banks.)

The theatrical debut of Follow Me, Boys! on Dec. 1, 1966, was followed two weeks later by some tragic news. Walt Disney died of lung cancer that day, meaning Follow Me, Boys! was the last production released during his lifetime.

I’d love to see a film like Saving Mr. Banks that delves into Walt Disney’s interest in the Boy Scouts of America. What sparked his curiosity in the organization and desire to turn MacKinlay Kantor’s book God and My Country into a feature film? How did the Scouting organization respond to his request? And what, if any, involvement did the BSA have during production?

Follow Me, Boys! stars a teenage Kurt Russell and Fred MacMurray (a former Scout in Troop 33 in Madison, Wis.). It follows a childless couple who devote themselves to the youth of the community. They decide Scouting is the best way to help boys become confident young men who are prepared for life. (Good call.)

To say their plan is a success is an understatement. MacMurray’s character becomes a major force for good in the lives of these boys, who come and grow throughout his 20-year Scouting career. I won’t spoil how it ends, but I will say it’s an inspiration to watch this Scoutmaster soar.

I think of Follow Me, Boys! as Mr Holland’s Opus but released 30 years earlier and set in a Scout troop instead of a high school. And I mean that as a compliment.

Follow Me, Boys! got solid reviews when it debuted, including from Scouting magazine. In our December 1966 issue, we wrote: “Laughs chase the tears throughout this portrayal of small-town and rural life in the model-A era and the career of a man who becomes a leading citizen by his avocation of helping boys. Take the family to see it.”

What was solid advice 47 years ago still holds true today: Follow Me, Boys! offers good, wholesome family fun. Watch a trailer and see original write-ups from Scouting and Boys’ Life magazines after the jump.  Continue reading


A Scouter’s holiday gift guide: 28 things you won’t find on a typical wish list

Instead of fancy sneakers, Paul wants hiking boots. Rather than an expensive vacation, Angela would like a trip to Wood Badge. And save your money on Pete, because his main wish for the holidays is simply to be a better Scoutmaster.

It’s the season for holiday gift guides, but the 2013 version for Scouters is quite different from the lists published by newspapers, magazines and websites this time of year.

And different is just the way we Scouters like it.

Earlier this week, I asked Scouting magazine’s Facebook friends this question: What’s on your holiday wish list this year?

Here are 28 great responses that include items you can wrap and put under the tree and those intangibles money can’t buy. There’s even one item that hasn’t been invented yet, so don’t get your hopes up on that one this year.

I’m certain all of the Scouters included on the gift guide below have been nothing but nice this year, so here’s hoping all of their wishes come true. Take a look after the jump. And happy holidays!

Continue reading


Rocket-powered backpacks and 10 other wild predictions of Scouting in 2000

Scouting-Feb1960-coverAt Boy Scout camps in the year 2000, milk doesn’t spoil, knots are rarely used and backpacks have been replaced by rockets that deliver camping gear in “near-zero time.”

That’s according to the 1960 predictions of Nostradamus, at least.

In the February 1960 issue of Scouting magazine, there’s a fun, tongue-in-cheek article that channels the prognosticating ability of that 16th-century French seer to predict what the world — and Scouting — will be like in 2000. Suffice it to say there are a few hits and many, many misses.

Now that we’re more than a decade past the year 2000, it’s fun to see what Nostradamus (aka the writers at Scouting magazine) got right and what they got horribly wrong. Follow the jump for 11 predictions and my assessment of how close they were to reality.  Continue reading


‘A Century of Honor’ show archived online for your viewing pleasure

Update, Oct. 30: Nearly 1.2 million people watched the awesome production last night. Did you miss it? You can now watch the whole thing online.

Original post:

Won’t be at the 21,000-seat Conference Center in Salt Lake City for tonight’s big “A Century of Honor” show? All hope is not lost.

You have plenty of ways to watch the multimedia celebration of the 100-year partnership between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America.

Basically, you can tune in on any device with a screen: TV, computer, iPhone, iPad, Android. But whichever method you choose, do not miss this live 85-minute extravaganza with original music and media, historical reenactments, special guests and a cast of hundreds of Scouts.

The big show is broadcast live at 9 p.m. Eastern tonight. (That’s 8 p.m. Central, 7 p.m. Mountain, 6 p.m. Pacific.)

Here are your options for tuning in:  Continue reading


What is a Scouter? The ‘by the book’ answer and your definitions

For those of us who have been in Scouting for the majority of our lives, the answer seems obvious.

But recently I got an email from a Cub Scout parent who shall remain nameless, asking, “What is a Scouter? I see this word all the time but am unclear about what exactly you’re referring to.”

I realized we use this word all the time in Scouting magazine, on my blog and on social media. And I suppose we just assume that all those new adult leaders out there know the word through some type of magic.

Let’s fix that today. First, the simple definition. The BSA’s Language of Scouting defines this noun as “A registered adult member of the Boy Scouts of America who serves in a volunteer or professional capacity.”

That’s the by-the-book definition, but we can do better. So I asked our Facebook friends to weigh in on the subject. I’ll share two of my favorite answers and then present a word cloud I created from the responses, all after the jump.  Continue reading


An Eagle Scout and astronaut fact-checks the film ‘Gravity’

scott-pLike many who saw the new movie Gravity, I was curious how much of what happens in the big-budget thriller could happen in real life.

Fortunately, astronaut and Eagle Scout Scott Parazynski did the fact-checking for us.

In an article for Vulture, the man who has spent 47 hours on spacewalks answers questions about how the characters moved in space, whether certain scenes were plausible and what reminded him most of his time in space.

Don’t click if you haven’t seen the film, because it does include some spoilers. But it’s worth your time if you saw Gravity and have an interest in space exploration.

By the way, the image above is cropped from the March 1966 cover of Scouting magazine. See the full cover after the jump. Continue reading


This 1930 summer camp flier shows how much has changed, how much hasn’t

Summer camp season may be over (sadly), but we can still have a little fun looking back.

And I mean way, way back — to 1930 and summer camp in the Kansas City Council.

Michael Dulle, membership coordinator of Overland Park, Kan., Troop 0459, sent me the flier below from the “Kansas City Scout Camp” in Osceola, Mo., now called the H Roe Bartle Scout Reservation.

I found it interesting how much has changed in summer camping in the 83 years since this charming document was printed. Equally fascinating: how much has stayed the same.

Take this sentence directed at a Scout’s mom and dad as a perfect example: “Let your boy acquire that healthy tan, the sparkle in the eye, and that enthusiasm for the worth-while which Scouts attending camp bring home with them.”

Hold on. A healthy tan? Most experts consider that phrase an oxymoron these days. Today’s parents send their kids to camp with a fresh bottle of sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses. But the part about a boy returning from camp with a “sparkle in the eye” and “enthusiasm for the worth-while”? That’s still true today. So is an earlier phrase about summer camp offering “fun not found in cities.”

I found it intriguing that summer camp was a two-week affair in 1930. Summer camp these days is just a week, of course.

But this was my favorite part. Guess how much it cost to attend summer camp for two weeks, including food, lodging and transportation in 1930? A whopping $16.

Check out the flier after the jump…  Continue reading


Minnesota Venturers try underwater basket weaving — no, seriously

Note: Not a real patch.

Note: Not a real patch.

In Crew 9820, they’re taking the joke of “underwater basket weaving” to new heights.

Or, technically, new depths.

Last weekend, the Minnesota Venturing crew, which specializes in scuba diving, went below the surface in their field uniform shirts, wetsuits and scuba gear. But they weren’t hunting for fascinating fish or awesome artifacts. They were making baskets.

Why? “Because we could,” says crew Advisor Dave Tengdin.

The crew drove to Square Lake in Stillwater, Minn., and made baskets while immersed in 68-degree water.

“Everybody makes jokes about taking classes in underwater basket weaving,” Tengdin told KSTP-TV. “And we figured, you know what? Let’s just have underwater basket weaving.” Next up for the crew: underwater pumpkin carving. Seriously.

Read a little about the origin of “underwater basket weaving” on the Wikipedia page, watch video of the crew’s event here and follow the jump for more photos.  Continue reading


Beach balls, and perhaps a world record, fall at jamboree

It’s not a party until someone brings out a beach ball.

Thousands of Scouts, Scouters and Venturers assembled in a light drizzle Sunday to attempt to set the Guinness World Record for “most people keeping beach balls in the air.”

The current record, 14,993 people, was set in 2012 in Spain.

From my vantage point in the center of the action, I could tell this group was insanely large. But still, the Stadium Experience Team will need a couple of weeks to send their proof to the Guinness folks, so stay tuned and I’ll update this post if we set the record.

Even if we didn’t quite raise the bar, Jamboree Program Group Chairman Russell Smart sees the silver lining.

Said Smart: “We set the Summit record, that’s for sure.”

Video and photos after the jump. Continue reading